CONCORDIA, Kansas — The Cloud County Community College women's basketball team picked off its fifth win of the young season Wednesday night, grinding out a 75-67 win over North Platte Community College behind a 33-point performance by sophomore Scout Frame.
The 33 points are a season-high for Frame, and the most since she poured in a career-high 40 points on Jan. 10 against Allen County Community College. Frame produced 16 of those points in a huge third quarter that saw the T-Birds outscore North Platte, 30-20, and erase a 32-29 halftime deficit.
Frame also added a team-high 12 rebounds for her second double-double of the season.
"We had to get some fire going in the third quarter. We played a little bit better defense, got a little better movement, hit some shots and were able to get a little lead there," said Cloud County head coach Brett Erkenbrack. "We were playing at the right pace. We ran some set plays to try and get Scout the ball in the right place at the right time and she finished some plays well. Scout's 33 points were big and we needed all of them."
Cloud County (5-1 overall) came out sluggish in the first half, shooting just 10 of 35 (29 percent) through the first 20 minutes while the visiting Lady Knights (1-5 overall) rode the hot hand guard Nerea Castellano-Jarandilla.
Castellano-Jarandilla had 11 points in the first half and nailed back-to-back threes to begin the second half to give North Platte its largest lead of the game at 38-29 with 8:29 remaining in the third quarter.
The T-Birds were able to adjust, though, as they held Castellano-Jarandilla scoreless over the final 18 minutes and change, thanks in large part to the perimeter defense of freshmen Lydia Ostenson, Emmiley Hendrixson and Chase Siedliks, as well as sophomore Mikaela Meyers.
"We did a better job of recognizing where (Castellano-Jarandilla) was and getting out on her in the second half," Erkenbrack said. "Our communication, was a little better and I think Chase and Mikaela lifted us, defensively, as much as anything. Chase hit some threes of her own, but her defensive intensity and effort really helped us on the perimeter. And Mikaela, her defense really helped us and her length was a factor."
Meyers finished with two points and eight rebounds, while Siedlik scored eight of her career-high 11 points in the second half. As a team, the T-Birds finished with a 17-0 advantage in bench points.
Cloud County also received a good effort Wednesday from freshman guard Chiara De Virgilio as she scored a career-high 13 points while tallying a team-high six assists and a pair of steals.
De Virgilio had gotten off to a slow start to begin the season, entering the game with 14 combined points in the first five games, but found her shooting stroke against the Lady Knights as she was 5-of-11 from the field.
Cloud County took its first lead of the second half at 41-40 on a layup by De Virgilio with 5:06 remaining in the third quarter. Then the T-Birds stretched their lead out to 10 at 62-52 with 9:13 remaining on one of De Virgilio's three made 3-pointers on the evening.
North Platte wouldn't inch closer than seven points the rest of the way as Cloud County was able to execute down the stretch to hold on for the 75-67 final.
"I'm glad we had to play for 40 minutes and we had to make some plays down the stretch," Erkenbrack said. "That was probably the highlight of the night for me. In that third quarter and part of the fourth quarter we were able to execute in the half-court, offensively, when we had to have some buckets and had to have some things go right for us."
Up next for Cloud County will be a tough road test at 2 p.m. Saturday against Northeast Community College.
"They (Hawks) will be ready for us. It'll be a big game for them and it's be a big game for us," Erkenbrack said. "It's very much like a conference road game because they are the caliber of ballclub that's very similar to upper division teams in the Jayhawk Conference. We'll have to play well or we won't have success."